Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovitch said Hamas is using “hundreds” of secret tunnels to smuggle arms, foreign fighters and military equipment into Gaza through a nine-mile-square area from Egypt. Many of the tunnels come up through residences as covert exitways.
Col. Leibovitch said Hamas has been working “24/7” to smuggle weapons, missiles and people through the tunnel networks. Although Israel and Egypt have worked to block some of the tunnels, work on the subterranean smuggling routes is continuing.
Israel’s recent military incursion into Gaza dramatically reduced the number of rocket attacks from the Palestinian-controlled enclave into Israel, Col. Leibovitch said in an interview in Washington.
However, Hamas continues to develop both its rocket and missile forces in secret and has missiles capable of reaching the outskirts of Tel Aviv, she said.
Hamas also has been caught four times attempting to smuggle arms and bomb-making knowhow into Gaza through covert shipments from the sea. Four ships have been captured attempting to smuggle the arms, she said.
Most of the weapons are smuggled in from Iran, including Chinese-made missiles reexported by Tehran, she said. They include Kassam rockets, long-range mortars and Grad missiles, including one version